Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why Elvis Got Fat

I've met quite a few interesting foods living in the South, but fried pickles are surely my favorite. I discovered them when I first moved here and thought they were just so-so, but I wasn't sold until just recently when I tried them at Gus's. Of course, anything they fry at Gus's is sure to make you fall in love with it, so I just had to recreate these tasty little spears at home - just to make sure they really had any place in my heart. You'll find that in the South they are made differently depending on where you go. Breadcrumb coated or beer battered. I'm partial to the breadcrumb coating because the beer batter becomes slightly soggy and I like my fried food crispy. The only thing I really like beer battered is the Fish part of Fish n' Chips. You also have the option of pickle chips or pickle spears. I like the spears because the warm pickle is what makes this treat so tasty, and you just don't get enough pickle with the spears. But if the chips are the only thing available, they hold their own.

It's quite frying anything. Take a saute pan, add about a 1/2 inch of oil to it and turn it on medium-high heat. Whisk an egg in one bowl, add some flour with salt and pepper in another and finally add some Italian seasoned breadcrumbs in a third. Once the oil is hot enough (you can tell by adding a pinch of the breadcrumb mixture, if it bubbles up, it's ready) dip your spear first into the flour, then into the egg wash and then coat in the breadcrumb mixture (the more coating you can get to stick, the better in my opinion). Place the pickles in the hot oil and fry for about 1 minute. Flip the pickle carefully, trying not to lose any of that crispy coating (not an easy task) and cook for another minute. Then place the pickles on paper towels to sop up any excess oil and you're ready to munch!

There is one odd thing I find about this dish - I hate ranch dressing. Can't stand it. But it's the only way to eat fried pickles. Something about the tartness of the pickle and the seasoning of the ranch really brings this all together. If you're skeptical, just try it. Hell you can fry up a single spear and if you don't like it, you're out 1 pickle. Big freakin' deal! TRY IT! I'm telling you, they're wonderful!

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